Tuesday, March 20, 2007

John Backus Dies at 82

John Backus, Turing Award winner, father of Fortran, Backus-Naur form, and perhaps modern high-level programming languages everywhere, dies at age 82.

He was awarded the Turing Award for his "profound, influential, and lasting contributions to the design of practical high-level programming systems, notably through his work on FORTRAN, and for seminal publication of formal procedures for the specification of programming languages."

In his Turing lecture of 1977 he said:
Programming languages appear to be in trouble. Each successive language incorporates, with a little cleaning up, all the features of its predecessors plus a few more. [...] Each new language claims new and fashionable features... but the plain fact is that few languages make programming sufficiently cheaper or more reliable to justify the cost of producing and learning to use them.

Read more about John Backus's life and death.

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